A year-long employment study of the Cariboo Chilcotin region has identified gaps and opportunities in the labor market.

The survey was done by the Cariboo Regional District, municipalities of Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Wells and member communities of Northern Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, and Southern Carrier/Dakelh First Nations, was completed just before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Mirriam Schilling, CRD Regional Economic, and Community Development Officer said the key finding from the results gathered is finding laborers.

“We simply need more workers. We just need more people to help fill positions in our region. Over 1800 people, like new people that would need to fill positions where people are retiring or simply just those that are currently vacant, so that’s a pretty high number for a region like ours”.

Other key findings included the Healthcare sector with the biggest shortfall of applicants to current job postings and Post-secondary education will be a key qualification for seventy-eight percent of future jobs.

When it came to the need for Post-secondary education, Schilling said that wasn’t even part of the survey.

“That finding came out of our education round table”, Schilling said, “We invited really key people from the different educational institutions within the region and had those round tables in Quesnel and Williams Lake. We had TRU reps that came from Kamloops, they were very curious to be involved in this study”.

Schilling added “78-percent of future jobs will require Post-secondary education and that could be trades, it doesn’t have to be a full University course, it could be just some sort of a course, some sort of a Post-secondary education. So more important than ever, it is for young people to realize that it definitely pays off to stay in school, there’s definitely a shift in the labor market from where people use to be able to find a fairly good-paying job in different industries and that is changing”.

The Labour Market survey project was funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.